Everybody is upgrading to the faster solid state drives (SSD) that give you much better performance than even the fastest hard disk drives (HDD). But SSD are expensive and often come with a smaller storage space compared to the hard disk drives. Typically a 120 GB SSD costs the same as a 1 TB HDD. So if you are using an SSD, you may run out of space especially if you install a lot of games and other software.
Instead of buying another storage device, you can use the open-source CompactGUI tool to compress the files in any folder without impacting the performance of your system. This is really useful if you have installed a number of games in your PC and have very little space left for other things. You can use the CompactGUI tool to compress the folders where the game installation and data files are stored and free up more space for other applications. Even though the files are compressed, this has little impact on the game performance.
The CompactGUI tool is actually an easy-to-use GUI front-end for the compact.exe command line tool. You can use the compact.exe tool yourself without CompactGUI but it will be a little difficult for many people. In the CompactGUI tool, you have to choose a folder that you wish to compress, select a compression method (there are four methods – XPRESS4K, XPRESS8K, XPRESS16K and LZX) and then choose some of the options like compressing sub-folders, compress hidden/system files etc. Clicking on the big Compress Folder button will initiate the compacting of the files.
In the settings of the CompactGUI, you can select the option to integrate it into Windows File Explorer so that you can right-click on any folder to compress/uncompress the files inside it. You can open the settings by clicking on the small Info text displayed near the top-right corner.
You can download CompactGUI from https://github.com/ImminentFate/CompactGUI/releases.